So long, summer.

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Well, Sarah went back to school last week, which means that summer has officially ended. Before she leaves for Boston every year, we tend to go through our favorite parts of summer and make a sort of unwritten list of things we think were cool and/or ridiculous. This summer may not have been as stellar as last summer, but I thought I’d turn that unwritten list to a written one…in no particular order.

1. The Palm Springs Trip – We had just gotten out of school, and it was the first all girls trip my group of friends had been on. On the way there, Kimmi, Margeaux, Sarah, Katie and I made a list of everything we wanted to do over summer (including Margeaux’s “M”-themed birthday bash that I think eventually got turned into a “Margeaux” themed birthday bash). I don’t know that anything from the list was checked off, but we did have a pretty bitchin’ time lounging and bringing the ruckus all at once. 

2. The night Sarah was unintentionally racist- It was late, we were hungry, Sarah drunkenly ordered pizza and cinnasticks (“Are you SURE you got the cinnasticks?”). The pizza came.
Sarah: Oh, hi! How long have you been here?
Pizza Lady: Since 2008.
Lauren and Me: *silent laughter behind door*
Sarah: Oh, okay. Thank you.
Door closes.
Seriously, lady? It’s 2 a.m. and you really thought Sarah was asking how long you’ve been in the country, as opposed to how long you’ve been waiting at the door? Shucks, we really must have made a bad impression.

3. The week Lauren was home- I happened to be house sitting that week, and Lauren basically moved in with me. It was the most time we’d spent together probably since graduating high school, and it was quite nice. I blogged about a particularly sweet night we had with Rachel that could be my favorite night of summer.

4. Margeaux’s non-themed birthday bash- What started out as a terrible day turned into a really fun night with the crew. Oh, and Margeaux lives on a cliff in Laguna, so that wasn’t bad, either.

5. The Britney Spears’ concert- Sarah’s roommate from Boston was in town, and Sarah ended up getting us awesome seats. It may have been more of a Sarah atmosphere than a Jess atmosphere, but hot damn we boogied that night.

6. Sarah ordering at the Krispy Kreme drive-thru- Sarah turned 21 at midnight, and after we went to TGI Friday’s to celebrate she had to have Krispy Kremes. She also decided she had to order and was slurring her words the entire time, which eventually led to, “I’m sorry, it’s my 21st birthday and I’m really drunk.”

7. Aunt Celine’s wedding, but mostly the week after- It was a lovely affair, but I also got to take care of Julia for a few days while my aunt was on her honeymoon. She’s just the coolest kid ever, and I was glad I had some time to spend with her before they moved.

8. Getting my first tattoo- Now I want 100 more.

9. Avett Brothers’ show- So, so, so, so good. Tears were shed, and I wasn’t the only one.

10. The Jack Grisham reading at work- This was actually the first official “book signing” I’d ever been to, and it happened to be at my work. I read the book a couple weeks before, and it’s pretty gnarly. I wasn’t so sure how the night was going to go, or what Jack would be like. A lot of the book involves him torturing/tormenting people and doing a lot of crazy shit, but he was a totally normal dude.  There was also a Q&A portion after he read. A lot of people asked him what advice he’d give to people who have a lot of the same issues that he had, and he basically answered with a variation of “I don’t know, I’m not a doctor” every time. I liked that.

(You can find the book at :) 

Cups of Coffee

Labels: , By Jessie Fey on Thursday, July 28, 2011

The first one I enjoyed: on my way to a 7:30 a.m. writing class during my senior year of high school. August, 2008.
Since Christmas, 2009: from my single-cup Keurig coffeemaker that brews the perfect cup. I reheat it twice before finishing.
On school or work days: before I leave, a few sips while I close my eyes. The rest on the ten-minute drive down Chapman Avenue.
At the Starbucks on Chapman Avenue: while studying for finals, visiting old friends, eavesdropping, during a job interview, and when my aunt told me she and my cousin would be moving. Also while beginning to write this while avoiding studying for finals.
On summer mornings when my mom is home, as we solve the problems of the world together. Just not our own.
After breaking up with a boyfriend I loved but hadn’t been in love with for a while, and understanding that such a thing was a) possible and b) alright. May, 2010.
Throughout my trip to Hungary last summer, when no amount could keep me from falling asleep between teaching English classes. June 25-July 14, 2010.
The morning of my twentieth birthday, thinking about how weird birthdays are, and how I’d like to hang on to a few parts of nineteen a little longer. Maybe a few parts of the rest of the teens, too. March 26, 2011.
Last night, to keep me awake long enough to finish a story.
In Mammoth last summer before hiking. The girls poured coffee while the boys poured beer, and we scoffed at them. July, 2010.
At dinner with my oldest friend. We talked about how much we loved it. Winter, 2010.
At a café by the beach with a boy I spent an effortlessly splendid summer with, as he told me adding sweetener would ruin it. He drank a hot chocolate. Summer, 2010.
April of this year, while sitting on my bathroom floor with the lights off, using the leaking faucet as an anesthetic.
June of this year, while walking on a boardwalk in San Diego with three of my favorite people, as we discussed how much life is going to change.
My first introduction. After I spit it out my mom said to me, wise as she is, “Someday you’ll understand.” Winter, 2004.
Driving home from Las Vegas on three hours of sleep with the alcohol still seeping through my pores. I fell asleep at the wheel and we’re all alive. December 23, 2010.
The morning I found out I got the job. January 1, 2011. Actually, it was probably the afternoon, considering the date.
In Long Beach Airport waiting to board my first solo flight, trying to decide how I felt about being alone in an airport and all the metaphors that go along with it. April 16, 2011.
Eating breakfast with my best friend before leaving Boston, as we discussed the previous night’s success(es). April 21, 2011.
On the plane ride home, hoping I’d touch down anywhere else. April 21, 2011.
Thursday mornings this summer, slugging on the couch watching really shitty reality television that I record. (Don’t worry, I don’t watch that show about weird addictions. However, as a psych major I feel it might be necessary…for scientific purposes. Just like it’s necessary for me to watch Teen Mom…for sociological purposes.)
Last week while working at the Costa Mesa store, sullenly going over the latest idea for the novel that may not ever get written. July 22, 2011.
Tomorrow morning on the way to work, joyfully scribbling down in my Field Notes notebook the next idea for the novel that will get written, eventually.

Labels: , By Jessie Fey on Monday, June 27, 2011

He’d been writing for over an hour, and I would interrupt his latest idea to read out loud without asking permission. I knew he found it romantic and I knew he’d want his wife to read to him someday; on the porch of their country home, surrounded by acres of green; on an island far away from the things he was afraid of, where people were scarce and love was plenty; or maybe right here in his room…both of us watching the seasons change and gripping fiercely the hope that our feelings never will. 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Script

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Wednesday, May 11, 2011

About a week or so ago at work, a “let’s discuss ways we can improve things” meeting eventually evolved into a “let’s encourage Jess on her dream of being a writer and discuss different films that excel in the area of character development” conversation. Yeah, it happened. One of my bosses suggested watching “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Last night, I finally got around to watching it.

Now, I went into this movie being told by one boss that it was the greatest love story of all time. Another boss told me he hated it. Bold statements, especially the first.

So I watched it. As the title of this post suggests, the script of this film is flawless. Listen to that first conversation between Joel and Clem on the train. If you don’t have an understanding for each of their characters by the end of that conversation, well, I would probably just tell you to stop watching. You’re probably one of those people who like the Twilight series more than the Harry Potter series. Actually, you’re probably the person that hasn’t read either series but still waits in line to see the next installment at midnight. And your favorite character in HP is Harry. Crucio! (You probably don’t know what that means.) I don’t know if I’m proud of or seriously concerned of my ability to work Harry Potter into everything.

Alright, back to it. This is when a movie review would put that “spoiler alert” warning thing up. It means to stop reading if you don’t want to know what happens in the movie. **Spoiler Alert**

As I watched Joel try to save his memories of Clem, I curled up into the fetal position and let the tears flow. It was to the point where I dramatically let them drip down my face and soak my pillow. No shame. Not only is Joel attempting to salvage Clem’s memory, he’s also forced to relive his memories with her for the last time. Regret is both inevitable and unbearable.

Clementine: I wish you'd stayed.
Joel:  I wish I'd stayed too. Now I wish I'd stayed. I wish I'd done a lot of things. Oh, God, I wish I had... I wish I'd stayed. I do.

(There’s at least one person that you want to have that exact exchange with. You need to be Joel, and say it, or you need to be Clem, and hear it.) Finding out about the relationship between Kirsten Dunst’s character and the doctor (whose names I can’t remember) didn’t help. Blindsided. She had her memory of their relationship erased and she fell in love with him again. That’s not really what the movie is about, though. Joel and Clem find themselves in a rather odd situation. Neither of them have memories of their first relationship, but they’re listening to tapes of themselves talk about the other person in pretty intimate ways. They’re told from the start what they’ll hate about each other and how fucked up their relationship is going to be. And what do they do? They say, “Okay.” But it’s so much more than “okay.” It’s “Yeah, we’re going to piss each other off. We’re going to bitch at each other a lot, and this is probably going to end the same way as it did the first time. But we don’t care.” To quote Matt, “’O.K.’ was the most sincere and touching version of ‘I love you’ that I have ever heard.” That’s what it’s all about, really. Joel and Clem being willing to go through hell all over again because they know, even if they fail miserably, it’ll be worth it. That’s when you know you love/loved someone. When you can look back on something that didn’t end the way you wanted it to, something that caused you a lot of heartache, and still want to do it all over again for the sake of what it was.

The point when calm tears turned into body-wrenching sobs?

Clementine: This is it, Joel. It’s going to be gone soon.
Joel: I know.
Clementine: What do we do?
Joel: Enjoy it.

Quite possibly the most beautiful idea that ever floated.

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Sunday, April 24, 2011

Because of the nature of her occupation, Madeline Hayward was an expert at empty promises.  Then Boris Hull called, and she never lied again.  

Come hang out with me, learn about 80s punk rock, and listen to some live music.

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On April 30, Moonlight Graham is hosting the official Orange County premiere of “A History Lesson Part One,” a documentary by Dave Travis about punk rock in LA in the 80s. After the screening, Modern Puppetry and Twisted Roots will do a short set.  If you’d like to go, let me know and I can grab you some tickets! Check out the film's website: 

Here’s the schedule for the night:

7pm-8pm…..”A History Lesson” Screening 8pm-8:30pm……Modern Puppetry 8:45pm-9:15pm…..Twisted Roots (Pat Smear, Paul Roessler, Gary Jacoby, etc) 

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Monday, April 11, 2011

“Let’s run away,” she said, tangling her legs in his, “and do something self-destructive.”

He kissed her forehead.  “I think we already are, sweetheart.”

REM Cycle.

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It was late, and the air was thick with nostalgia.  A single light dangling above the sink highlighted the otherwise dark room.  She sat on a stool while he stood on the other side of the island.  They talked softly as not to wake the others living in the house.
“I never stood a chance with you,” she said, smiling.  He took a sip from a cup that his little sister made him, and she watched his mouth turn up at either side.
“Sure you did.”
“Ha!  You knew you had me from the beginning,” she accused.
“Why are you so sure?”
“Don’t you remember our first dinner together?” 
He laughed at the memory.  “You hardly ate.  It could have been worse, though.”
“How so?”
“You could have ordered a salad.”  They were both laughing now.
“I couldn’t help it. I still thought everything you did or said was charming,” she said.  He was grinning again.  “Even now, sometimes when you talk the words come out in cursive.  I didn’t even know you and you were already something to me.  That sort of thing made my stomach turn.” 
He looked in her eyes for a moment.  “I didn’t know I had you,” he confessed.
“I didn’t make that clear?” she asked.
“No.  I don’t know.  Maybe you did and I didn’t understand at the time.  Maybe I still don’t.  You just always seemed so…white.  It didn’t make sense for you to come around.”
“Making you…?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Shaded.” 
She wondered why it always came down to this, and why he continued to question it. 
“Let’s go up,” he said.
He poured the watered-down whiskey into the sink.  She waited for him, hoping he’d write about her someday.  The kind of writing that would lead to people asking him how he made love last for so long, or if he really knew a girl like the one he talked about in his stories.  Allowing the previous conversation to saturate, he followed her up the stairs in silence.  They crept into his bed, where they spent most of their nights, and she wrapped herself in his old, cool sheets.  She reached to pull the curtain closed in hopes that morning would delay. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her forehead.
“We should talk like this more often,” he said.
“I know, dear.” She traced his face, her favorite picture, and put it in her pocket.  Though she had spent most of her summer with him, she still couldn’t quite describe the color of his eyes. 
“I was thinking about rules today,” she said.
“Yeah.” She was looking away from him now. “The biggest ones are always broken at night.”
“Like midnight snacks.”  He laughed under his breath, this being the perfect illustration of the way she saw the world. 
“I think it’s the moon,” she said.
“Of course it’s the moon,” he agreed.  She was staring again as she pulled the covers over her shoulders, noting his ability to always have the unexpected yet perfectly appropriate response.  She kept going. 
“So, I’m going to asking for your permission now,” she said, picking at her cuticles. 
“My permission?”
“Yes. To love you,” she said, her voice quieting. 
“That’s the rule?”
“It’s the one I’m breaking.  I thought I’d give it a try.  Rebellion, I mean.”
“Is this about summer ending?”
She looked down and replayed the last three months in her mind. The countless cloudless days and a scene much like this one and the one before that she could never quite hold on to.  She swam through his head like a child who was never taught to swim.
“You love me now,” he said. She wasn’t sure if it was an insult or not, so her rebuttal came quickly. 
“That’s the sad part.” Her voice was shaking. “I keep trying to. You won’t let me.  You fight it every time.”
He stared up at the ceiling with one hand folded behind his head. She was looking at his bedroom door, gathering the location of her belongings in her mind in case she had to leave. It was an empty threat.  She knew she wouldn’t go, so did he, but she had to give herself the chance.
“You still have a lot to learn. Maybe you’d be better off without me,” he said.  He turned toward the wall so his back was facing her.
“I wouldn’t leave unless you made me.  I’ll stay until you tell me to go.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know, darling,” he said.
“Because you haven’t told me.”
“I wasn’t just talking about myself.”
“Alright, then.  What do I need to know about the world?”
He sighed.  “That it’s been pissed on.”  The way he said it
made her feel like he had been wanting to tell her for a long time, but that he didn’t want to be the one to contaminate her.  He didn’t require a response, but it came after a minute of silence.
     “Just because I see colors doesn’t mean I don’t know that.
I know the world’s been pissed on.  I also know that that
isn’t what you were speaking of entirely.”  He didn’t move.  “You were talking about your world.  Your world’s been pissed on, and from the little you have told me, I’d guess you had to stand by and watch while it happened.  That’s a tragedy.  And I wish I could have been there to love you then, but you seem to be under the impression that I want to clean it up for you now.”
     “Isn’t that what this is about?”
     She gave a quick laugh, expecting him to believe that she couldn’t love him simply.  “I may not be old enough to buy you a drink, dear, but I’m smart enough to know that to try to clean up a mess of yours would be a losing battle.  It’s a romantic notion that’s been lost in translation.  Love has become associated with the art of fixing, and it’s bullshit.  People seem to think that allowing someone to plug up their empty places for a while will keep them from spewing again, and that’s bullshit, too.  Real love is the exact opposite.  It holds the bucket and catches everything that comes spilling out.”  She wasn’t sure that she was making sense now, so she made her point.  “I don’t want to fix anything of yours.  I wouldn’t be able to if I tried.  That’s your responsibility.  I just want you to let me in the room in case you can’t reach the wrench.”
     He lifted his head as to make sure she heard him.  “You wouldn’t know where to look.”
“What are you so afraid of?” she finally asked, raising her voice and knowing he wouldn’t tell her. He stopped to think, and he turned back toward her.
“If I left, would you call?” he asked.
“No,” she answered, lowering her head.
“Why not?”
“I’ll think it’s because you don’t want me anymore,” she said.  “It doesn’t make sense for you to come around, either.”
“And if I called?”
“I’d answer.”
“I’d want to hear your reasoning.  And because I’d still
want to be the person you’d write about for the right reasons.”
She kissed him, not waiting to hear his response.  That night, she fell asleep to the sound of his breath in her ear, still the prettiest melody. 


Labels: By Jessie Fey on

Over the last couple months, I’ve been going to my elementary school to observe a kid for a child development class I’m taking.  I get to watch him through a one-way mirror and write down everything he does.  He’s four years old, and the cutest thing.  I’ve actually managed to become attached to him even though we’ve only had one interaction.  When he got to his classroom on Monday morning, his dad was carrying him.  He had his face buried in his dad’s neck and what looked like a death grip around his neck, and he let the rest of his body lay limp in his dad’s arms.  He finally let Dad put him down and, after a few minutes of father-son playtime around the room, he had forgotten he was homesick.  The Lego table called. 

I started thinking about this little guy, and I hope the rest of his life looks like that.  I hope his dad is around to make him feel better when he needs it, and push him out the door when he doesn’t know he needs it.  I hope he gets smarter than his parents one day, but I hope that day doesn’t come too soon.  I always get emotional when I think about the people in my life as babies, or in this case, children.  Shit, I get emotional when I think about myself as a baby.  I feel like that’s self-explanatory. 

A friend from my class comes to observe with me, and today we got talking about, more or less, how freaked out we are that we aren’t going to choose the right guy to spend our lives with, thus leading to us fucking up our own lives and eventually the lives of our kids in one way or another.  Totally cynical and depressing, I know.  I’m fascinated with family trends, and how people tend to choose a partner based off of what they experienced in their family of origin (their parents and siblings).  People tend to be attracted to other people based on what they’re used to.  Makes sense, and that’s totally cool if you’ve had nothing but loving relationships (not that you’re guaranteed to choose the right person because of that).  But then there’s the boy who started doing laundry and putting himself to bed at age 6 because his mom was too fucked up to do it herself.  He’s likely to choose someone he has to take care of, and he probably won’t let anyone close enough to take care of him, let alone think he deserves it. 

I’m going to bounce yet once more in this ramble, this time to Jersey Shore.  This season, one episode made me understand EVERYTHING about Ronnie and Sam’s relationship.  Ron’s mom calls the house plastered, and during their conversation, it seems pretty clear that this isn’t the first time it’s happened.  RINGALINGDING went the bell in my head.  Ronnie has a mom who has created some chaos in his life, and now he’s in a relationship with a chick who he fights with every day.  Family fucking trend, people, trickling on down.

I realize I’m coming off as saying that people will inevitably choose what they’re used to, good or bad.  I’m not that gloomy, I’m just saying that it makes sense.  I also realized I took “observing a cute kid” to “topics in psychology” to “Jersey Shore still explains everything.” Eh, it’s been a long week.   

Text me!

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Taylor Clark: I put pepper on my ketchup.
***This chick has either been in my refrigerator, or she’s been stalking me eating French fries. Or she’s perfection. 
Josh J<3: No way! My mom is a huge pepper fan.  She used to take the lid off of the ketchup bottle at home and add in at least three tablespoons.  I didn’t realize ketchup didn’t have a grey tint for years. 
            ***No freaking way.  Soulmates? His mom and I are bffs?
Taylor Clark: Seriously?! That’s awesome J It sounds like your mom and I would get along.
            ***I already told her about the ketchup.
Josh J<3: I think you would…
            ***Conversation ender…never a good sign.
Taylor Clark: What did you do today?
            ***Woke up at 12, went to the store to get stuff for nachos…
Josh J<3: Not much…I slept in then ran some errands.  You?
            ***I went to the beach and annoyingly talked to my friends about you.
Taylor Clark: Nothing too exciting! Just went to the beach with some of my friends…soaked up some VD!
            ***Did she just tell me she ‘soaked up’ a venereal disease?
Josh J<3:  VD, huh?
            ***Maybe he doesn’t know about vitamin D?
Taylor Clark: Haha yeah…it’s one of my favorite things!.
            ***Well, she’s insane.
Josh J<3: Haha cool. Hey, I know we we’re supposed to hang out tomorrow night, but my mom just told me she needs help at the animal shelter.  She volunteers there and someone just backed out of helping her, so I told her I’d cover. 
            ***He loves animals, too? Ahhhhh JJJJJ
Taylor Crazy Ass: Of course! I’m glad you offered! Let me know when you can hang out again J

I still crane my neck when I pass your street.

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Friday, April 1, 2011

The sun came back today and
the whole time I looked for you in the heat but
you weren’t there.
I didn’t know what that was about.
So I kept looking through sand and the
taste of salt on your skin and especially through
that stagnant fog that sits on blacktop streets but
you weren’t there, either.
I didn’t know what that was about.
Then I consulted the space between spring and
summer and I asked if she had seen you.
And she told me to wait because I was
too soon, you weren’t there.
I didn’t know what that was about.
I went to my library and I looked through all the books I know
and I peered through the spaces between the letters
to find you but
you weren’t there and
I didn’t know what that was about.
I had another idea because I wasn’t ready to stop
so I turned on my car and let the air conditioning run.
I let it breeze against my face and I stayed
until my contacts were dry but
you weren’t there.
I start to drive and as I pass
your street and when I see a car like yours
my neck is an owl’s.
This feels suddenly familiar
and I know what that’s about because I’ve been
doing it all along.

Here's how to make love stay.

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I finished Still Life With Woodpecker a couple weeks ago (Grant, if you're reading this, thank you).  I enjoyed it so much that I thought I'd share some of my favorite parts. It's extensive.  Yuk!

"Life is like a stew, you have to stir it frequently, or all the scum rises to the top."

"'I no longer know what love is.  A week ago I had a lot of ideas.  What love is and how to make it stay.  Now that I'm in love, I haven't a clue.  Now that I'm in love, I'm completely stupid on the subject.'"

"No, and it's not an easy time to be an outlaw, either.  There's no longer any moral consensus.  In the days when it was generally agreed what was right and what was wrong, an outlaw simply did those wrong things that needed to be done, whether for freedom, for beauty, or for fun.  The distinctions are blurred now, a deliberately wrong act - which for the outlaw is right - can be interpreted by many others to be right - and therefore must mean that the outlaw is wrong.  You can't tilt windmills when they won't stand still...But it doesn't really bother me.  I've always been a square peg in every round hole but one...I guess love is the real outlaw."

"Who knows how to make love stay?
1. Tell love you are going to Junior's Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if love stays, it can have half.  It will stay.
2. Tell love you want a momento of it and obtain a lock of its hair.  Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides.  Face southwest.  Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language.  Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a mustache on your face.  Find love.  Tell it you are someone new.  It will stay.
3. Wake love up in the middle of the night.  Tell it the world is on fire.  Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it.  Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right.  Fall asleep.  Love will be there in the morning."

"There is only one serious question. And that is: Who knows how to make love stay? Answer me that and I will tell you whether or not to kill yourself.  Answer me that and I will ease your mind about the beginning and the end of time.  Answer me that and I will reveal to you the purpose of the moon."

"Don't let yourself be victimized by the age you live in.  It's not the times that will bring us down, any more than it's society.  When you put the blame on society, then you end up turning to society for the solution.  Just like those poor neurotics at the Care Fest.  There's a tendency today to absolve individuals of moral responsibility and treat them as victims of social circumstance.  You buy that, you pay with your soul.  It's not men who limit women, it's not straights who limit gays, it's not whites who limit blacks.  What limits people is lack of character.  What limits people is that they don't have the fucking nerve or imagination to star in their own movie, let alone direct it.  Yuk."

"The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that.  Loving makes love.  Loving makes itself.  We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love.  Wouldn't that be the way to make love stay?"

"Love is the ultimate outlaw.  It just won't adhere to any rules.  The most any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice.  Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet.  That would mean that security is out of the question.  The words 'make' and 'stay' become inappropriate.  My love for you has no strings attached.  I love you for free."

"When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us.  When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising.  This can go on and on - series polygamy - until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment.  Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.  Hey, that's pretty good.  If I had pencil and paper, I'd write that down...When two people meet and fall in love, there's a sudden rush of magic.  Magic is just naturally present then.  We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more.  One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone.  We hustle to get it back, but by then it's usually too late, we've used it up.  What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start.  It's hard work, especially when it seems superfluous or redundant, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay."

"They glared at her the way any intelligent persons ought to glare when what they need is a smoke, a bite, a cup of coffee, a piece of ass, or a good fast-paced story, and all they're getting is philosophy."

"How can one person be more real than any other?  Well, some people do hide and others seek.  Maybe those who are in hiding - escaping encounters, avoiding surprises, protecting their property, ignoring their fantasies, restricting their feelings, sitting out the Pan pipe hootchy-kootch of experience - maybe those people, people who won't talk to rednecks, or if they're rednecks won't talk to intellectuals, people who're afraid to get their shoes muddy or their noses wet, afraid to eat what they crave, afraid to drink Mexican water, afraid to bet a long shot to win, afraid to hitchike, jaywalk, honky-tonk, cogitate, osculate, levitate, rock it, bop it, sock it, or bark at the moon, maybe suck people are simply inauthentic, and maybe the jackleg humanist who says differently is due to have his tongue fried on the hot slabs of Liar's Hell.  Some folks hide, and some folks seek, and seeking, when it's mindless, neurotic, desperate, or pusillanimous can be a form of hiding.  But there are folks who want to know and aren't afraid to look and won't turn tail should they find it - and if they never do, they'll have a good time anyway because nothing, neither the terrible truth nor the absence of it, is going to cheat them out of one honest breath of earth's sweet gas.  'Maybe he was an insane bastard, but he was a genuine insane bastard,' said Leigh-Cheri, 'and I loved him more than I've ever loved anybody - or ever will.'"

"'The pyramid is the bottom, and the top is us.  The top is all of us.  All of us who're crazy enough and brave enough and in love enough.  The pyramids were built as pedestals that the souls of the truly alive and the truly in love could stand upon and bark at the moon.  And I believe that our souls, yours and mine, will stand together atop the pyramids forever'...'You're better equipped for this world than I am,; she said. 'I'm always trying to change the world.  You know how to live in it.'"

"When the mystery of the connection goes, love goes.  It's that simple.  This suggests that it isn't love that is so important to us but the mystery itself.  The love connection may be merely a device to put is in contact with the mystery, and we long for love to last so that the ecstasy of being near the mystery will last.  It is contrary to the nature of mystery to stand still.  Yet it's always there, somewhere, a world on the other side of the mirror (or the Camel pack), a promise in the next pair of eyes that smile at us.  We glimpse it when we stand still.  The romance of new love, the romance of solitude, the romance of objecthood, the romance of ancient pyramids and distant stars are means of making contact with the mystery.  When it comes to perpetuating it, however, I got no advice.  But I can and will remind you of two of the most important facts I know: (1) Everything is part of it. (2) It's never too late to have a happy childhood."

And finally, find a boy to read this out loud to you.  It's my favorite.

"Yes, and I love the trite mythos of the outlaw.  I love the self-conscious romanticism of the outlaw.  I love the black wardrobe of the outlaw.  I love the fey smile of the outlaw.  I love the tequila of the outlaw and the beans of the outlaw.  I love the way respectable men sneer and say 'outlaw.'  I love the way young women palpitate and say 'outlaw.'  The outlaw boat sails against the flow, and I love it.  All outlaws are photogenic, and I love that.  'When freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will be free': that's a graffito seen in Anacortes, and I love that.  There are outlaw maps that lead to outlaw treasures, and I love those maps especially.  Unwilling to wait for mankind to improve, the outlaw lives as if that day were here, and I love that most of all."

Just read the book already.


Labels: By Jessie Fey on Monday, March 28, 2011

You’re born.
A few years go by and you don’t remember much, but you know you have a mother and a father and a big brother.  He’s two years older than you and he knows everything about dinosaurs.  When you’re older, you see a video of you two together.  You’re a baby.  He’s gathering rocks and dumping them into your pink overalls.  You don’t even notice.  You’re mom is filming it and she’s laughing.
You get older, and so does he.  You think he’s cool, and you’ll think that for a long time.  You do a lot of things because you want to be like him.  Like play Pokémon.  He has a folder that he keeps his Pokémon cards in, and you let him keep yours there, too.  He challenges you to Pokémon wars, and he makes the rules.  Because you’re so young, you don’t realize that his rules aren’t fair.  He plays with his best friend, two against one.  You lose every time.  You cry, they laugh.  You never say ‘no’ when he asks you to play.  Because you want him to think you’re cool.
Your mom takes you to get a pack of Pokémon cards.  Blastoise, one of the best Pokémons, is in your pack.  Your brother and his friend offer to trade you both of their packs just for your one card.  You trade them, because you still think that quantity means more than quality.  You cry, they laugh.
Every winter, your dad and brother put you in an empty Duraflame box and spin you around the living room.  Then they pin you down and tickle you until you almost start crying.  You’re happy.
You and your brother make as many forts as possible, using every blanket and pillow you can get your hands on.  You’re convinced each one is of architectural value.  After you clean up, you take the two red sleeping bags and you sleep on your Mom’s floor together.
You start playing sports, just like your big brother.  He plays tackle football and you go to all of his practices and games.   You think this is cool, because hardly anyone at school plays tackle football.  You try his helmet on.  He’s the best at sports, and you want to be the best, too.  Every day after school you play touch football in your backyard and basketball in your driveway.  You and your dad versus your brother and one of his friends.  It’s your favorite thing in the world because you’re better than his friend, so your dad laughs and you think he loves you even more because of it.  Your brother gets mad, and you’re finally at the age where that’s your favorite thing, too (even though this is the only time it happens). 
Your big brother goes to high school, and now you think he’s even cooler because he always has something to do on the weekends.  Everyone likes him.  Everyone.  This is also the age where he realizes that you are human, and that time spent with you isn’t all that bad.  You’re cool because of that.  You read a book that he was supposed to read for school about September 11, and you write a seven-page paper on it for him even though you have a fever.  You don’t even feel guilty because you finally had something to offer him.  He gets 100% on it, which you believe means that you are, in fact, a genius.
All of a sudden, you notice that his friends are cute.  He goes to winter formal with a girl you don’t know, and all of his friends sleep at your house afterward.  Volunteering your bed for them to sleep in (OMG, you think), you fall asleep at 9:30 in your mom’s bed, only to wake up when they get home at 12 to act like you’ve been awake all along.  You go downstairs to get a glass of water just to see what they’re doing.  You’re still in junior high, so they don’t pay much attention to you.
Turns out, you actually are a decent athlete.  You win the “Athlete of the Year” award at school, just like your big brother, but you win it two years in a row (seventh AND eighth grade, when it really matters).  For the rest of your life, you’ll brag about this.  After you won it the first year, your brother patted you on the back and said “good job,” which was better than the trophy.
For your high school application, you have to write about someone in your life who has character.  You write about your big brother because you are still under the impression that you want to be just like him.  And, at this point, he hasn’t made many mistakes.  You tell the application-reader that he has always had to work hard for everything he’s earned, and that’s true. 
Then you get into high school.  Lots of people refer to you as your brother’s little sister.  You think you’re hot shit because you know all of your brother’s friends and they actually say hi to you sometimes.  A couple of them have little sisters that are your age, and you unite and talk about your brothers’ hot friends and who you think is the hottest.  Eventually, the thrill will fade and you’ll walk around the house in sweats and no makeup in front of them (can you believe it?). They become your big brothers, too. 
You play sports until your sophomore year.  You sprain your ankle one night and your brother has to carry you to his car.  You think he’s going to carry you like the princess that you are, but he throws you over his shoulder sack of potatoes style.  Then you quit sports because they aren’t fun anymore.  Your brother doesn’t understand because football is the equivalent of oxygen to him and because he hasn’t developed empathy when it comes to you.  He tells you you’re wasting your talent, and that he wishes he had the natural ability that you have.  He learned these backward compliments from your dad.  You’re fifteen, so you don’t see that yet. 
You come to realize that there are certain moments that you and your big brother have together that you’ll never forget.  One night, he’s driving you home and you notice that he’s crying.  You ask him what’s wrong and he mentions something about your dad.  You understand that you’re seeing a broken man.  You’ll see more of them as you get older (you fall in love with a couple, too), and each of them is the saddest thing you’ll ever see.  He leaves, and you learn what it means to want to go to war for someone.  That night, you write your dad a letter and read it to him out loud about how he’s fucking up his own life, which in turn is fucking you and your brother up.  Nothing changes, but it will be the bravest thing you’ll ever do, and you’ll be proud.
A couple years go by and football is still your brother’s life.  He becomes the team captain and his team wins the first state championship.  Your whole family goes to his games.  Like, everyone.  You tell him you’re proud of him, holding back tears because you mean it.  You’ll never see him happier. 
At some point, you start to tell your brother that you love him.  He starts to say it back.  You always say it first, but you don’t care. 
Your brother graduates high school and goes to college.  Even though it’s close to your house, he moves out.  You bring him lunch a couple times and stay for five minutes because, well, all he really wanted was lunch.  A new school means new friends, and you’re happy about that.
In your junior year of high school, you throw a party at your house and you get drunk for the third time.  Your brother finds out about it and invites his friends, too.  You propose to one of them.  You get too drunk, and your brother carries you upstairs.  Sack of potatoes.
It’s time to start applying to colleges, and you swear that you’ll go away because you just have to get out (everyone is so over Orange County).  You get a scholarship, and you go to the very same school that your brother goes to.  Secretly, you’re happy about it.  You get him and his friends to come over by making them food.
You and your brother don’t have much of anything in common, and you don’t like a lot of the things he does.  In fact, you spend a decent amount of time bitching to your mom about him.  You wonder how he can think that the world is made of rainbows and that everything will always work out, la de da.  Sometimes this makes you jealous.  But, you come to the conclusion that he’s the prodigal son, making you the older brother.  Shit.  Well, this helps and you bitch a little less but only a little.  No matter how hard you try, you’re always happy to see him.
As you add up the years in your head, you can’t help but laugh.  You start to think about what you’ve learned from your big brother, and they’re all good things.  When people ask you about him, you always say the same thing.  You tell them that he’s the most likeable person you’ve ever met, and they’d be hard-pressed to find someone with a purer heart.  Or with a deeper knowledge of dinosaurs.  

June and January.

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Sunday, March 27, 2011

The buzzing of the fluorescent lights above provided sufficient background music, one long note.

“Did you?”

“Yes. Very much. I hated him, too.”

I avoided this as often as possible. It made me homesick. But the kind of burning homesick that leaves you wanting to go home to a bed that isn’t yours. Hell, maybe it never was.

“But, damn, he was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

This led to a series of images I stayed away from most days. I remember the first time I heard him talk. I wanted to write down every word he said, and I imagine I’d still feel that way.

“It’s like in the movies sometimes. When you walk out and you don’t feel anything at all. Like maybe they forgot the ending.”

“He wanted to be a cowboy, honey. A girl like me never stood a chance.”


November 14, 2010.

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A letter written, never sent. 

This weekend hasn’t treated you well. You haven’t told me everything that’s happened, but it seems like it’s just been one thing after another. It also seems like your whole life has been that way. I don’t know everything about that, either.

I went through some of our emails from the summertime tonight. The world seemed a lot lighter to carry then for some reason.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to write this. You’ll probably never see it, and I really don’t have much to say. Maybe that’s why, because when you called me tonight I kept wishing I had those magic words that would suddenly make things perfect for you. Manageable, even. You weren’t looking for that, but still. 

I guess I just wonder who gets to take care of you, you know. I know you tend to get through things on your own, and you don’t want anyone feeling sorry for you. I get that. I love that. But everyone needs someone that can pick them up off the floor once in a while. Even you. Maybe you’ll let me be that person one day, or maybe that spot is already taken. I don’t know. I’m rambling, and this probably doesn’t make any sense.

It sounded better in my head.

Unfinished, Still.

Labels: By Jessie Fey on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This never took place, but it should have.
“We should talk like this more often,” he said.
“I know, dear.” She traced his face, her favorite picture, and put it in her pocket.
“I was thinking about rules today,” she said.
“Yeah.” She was looking away from him now. “They’re always broken at night. The biggest ones, anyway. I think it’s the moon.”
“Of course it’s the moon.” She was staring again as she pulled the covers over her shoulders.
“So, I’m asking for your permission.”
“My permission?”
“Yes. To love you.”
“That’s the rule?”
“It’s the one I’m breaking.”
“Is this about summer ending?”
She looked down and replayed the last three months in her mind. Emails were the new love letters, and she kept them all as proof.
“You love me now,” he said. She wasn’t sure if it was an insult or not.
“That’s the sad part.” Her voice was shaking. “I keep trying to. You won’t let me. You keep fighting back and I don’t know if you even know you’re doing it. I thought if I asked it might make a difference.”
He stared up at the ceiling. She was looking at his bedroom door, gathering the location of her belongings in her mind in case she had to leave. She knew she wouldn’t, so did he, but she had to give herself the chance.
“You still have a lot to learn. Maybe you’d be better off without me.”
She had heard this before, but this time she didn’t believe it.
“I wouldn’t leave unless you made me.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know, darling.”
“What are you so afraid of?” she finally asked, knowing he wouldn’t tell her. He stopped to think, and she thought she may have surprised him.
“If I left, would you call?” he asked responsively.
“No,” she answered.
“Why not?”
“I’ll think it’s because you don’t want me anymore,” she said, already believing that it would be true.
“And if I called?”
“I’d answer.”
“Because I’d still want to be the person you’d write about for the right reasons.”
She kissed him, wondering if he’d be there in the morning.